Pay for coffee with a poem

To mark World Poetry Day tomorrow, more than 1,100 cafes, bars, restaurants and hotel bars in 23 countries including the UK will be asking customers to pay for their steaming cups of coffee with pieces of poetry.

Julius Meinl, a coffee-roasting company, who has organized the promotion, says, “Let’s show the world feelings are more valuable than money”, and “We believe that poetry can make a better world”.

To find out participating locations, head to Julius Meinl’s Facebook event page.

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John Boyne’s 5th children’s novel to be published in September

Boy2-150x229John Boyne the author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas will be releasing his fifth novel for young readers, The Boy at the Top of the Mountain, on 24 September.

The story follows orphan Pierrot’s transition from Paris to a new life in Hitler’s wealthy household at the top of the German mountains.

Boyne’s other stories for younger readers are Stay Where You Are Then Leave, The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket, and Noah Barleywater Runs Away. These gripping tales feature a shell-shocked father, a gravity-defying boy, and a magical toyshop.

Boyne will also be publishing his first collection of short stories, Beneath the Earth, in August, and is currently serving as the jury chair for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s premier literary award.

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The Book With No Pictures competition

LendMeYourLiteracy is asking budding writers to create their own books with no pictures for a chance to win a personalised video message from the author of The Book With No Pictures himself B. J. Novak as well as a bundle of cool books.

The book should be written in the same style as Novak’s comical title. His rule is that whoever reads the book aloud must say every single word written down no matter how ridiculous like “I am a monkey who taught myself to read” and “my head is made of blueberry pizza”.

Full details of the competition, including materials for inspiration and how to enter, can be found on the LendMeYourLiteracy website.

The deadline is midnight on 23 March, and the winner will be revealed on the 31 March.

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Henry Marsh shortlisted for Wellcome Book Prize

Henry Marsh’s Do No Harm about his life as a neurosurgeon has been shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize.

The shortlist also includes Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss, The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being by Alice Roberts, My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel, The Iceberg by Marion Coutts and All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews. These books explore maternal failures, the development of an embryo into a complex body, the history of anxiety, speech and language deterioration due to a brain tumour, and self-annihilation.

A distinguished judging panel including the authors Mark Haddon and Bill Bryson will deliberate the winner, and their conclusion will be announced on 29 April.

Last year’s winner was Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon.

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Peter Rabbit celebrates Penguin’s 80th anniversary

9780723294078Peter Rabbit is celebrating the 80th anniversary of Penguin Books with a new special edition of his own tale.

The recently released book features the iconic triband Penguin cover in gorgeous Peter Rabbit blue.

Peter Rabbit enjoys experimenting with different cover design styles from a Shakespeare edition to the Royal edition inspired by the birth of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first child Prince George of Cambridge.

The special Penguin anniversary was also marked with the launch of 80 Penguin Little Black Classics including works by Kate Chopin, Oscar Wilde and Brothers Grimm.

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Malorie Blackman receives Blue Peter Badge

Noughts and Crosses author Malorie Blackman has received a Gold Blue Peter Badge for her services to children’s books, and for her support for more diversity in children’s publishing.

Blackman said, “Oh wow! I am so honoured and surprised.”

Ewan Vinnicombe, Blue Peter’s Editor, added: “We know the Blue Peter audience love reading Malorie’s books and find her such an inspiration writing a rich and diverse range of stories for young people. We’re proud to award her our highest honour the Gold Blue Peter Badge.”

Blackman has published over fifty books, and is currently a Children’s Laureate. She has received an OBE, and has been described by the Times as “a national treasure”.

Other authors who have received Blue Peter Badges include War Horse writer Michael Morpurgo and Harry Potter creator JK Rowling.

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Return of Winston Graham Historical Prize

The Royal Institution of Cornwall’s Winston Graham Historical Prize will be running again this year to coincide with the new BBC Poldark television series starring Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson.

The prize was first set up in 2008 as part of the centenary celebrations of Graham’s birth.

£3,000 cash prize will be awarded to a piece of historical fiction based in the South-West of England, and Pan Macmillan could also potentially publish the winning work.

The deadline for submitting five copies of published work is 31 July 2015. The shortlist will be revealed on 30 November 2015, and the winner on the 1 February 2016.

In Poldark, the main character returns to Cornwall after the American War of Independence only to find his father dead, the family mine long closed, and the girl he loves engaged to his cousin. 

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